Gustav Brom's Big Band. Credit: JazzFestBrno

JazzFestBrno Marks 100 Years of Czech Radio With Randy Brecker and Gustav Brom’s Radio Big Band

A new concert has been added to the autumn programme of JazzFestBrno. On 29 September, at Sono Centrum, the U.S. trumpeter Randy Brecker, winner of seven Grammys, and Gustav Brom’s Radio Big Band will play a joint concert celebrating 100 years of Czech Radio in Brno. Brecker has recorded with Paul Simon, Lou Reed, Joe Cocker, Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr, as well as releasing many albums as a soloist. Tickets are on sale now at the festival website.

“We have had a number of successful projects with the Gustav Brom Orchestra, so the concert for the centenary of the Brno Radio is the logical outcome of our cooperation,” said Vilém Spilka, the artistic director of the festival. “The orchestra is closely linked with the Brno radio studio, its key recordings were made there, and its members have had a second home there for several decades. Randy Brecker is the same age as the conductor of the orchestra, Vlado Valovič, and they play the same instrument, so the choice of solos for this extraordinary event of birth was a no-brainer.” 

“We are happy that the Gustav Brom orchestra, which has been associated with the Brno studio for a long time, will play for our anniversary,” added Josef Podstata, director of Czech Radio Brno. “And even more so with trumpeter Randy Brecker, who is among the best in the world. This will meet international and domestic quality, and I believe it will be a unique musical experience.” 

Saxophonist and composer Gustav Brom founded his orchestra as early as 1940, and led it until his death in 1995, when Vladimír Valovič took over the baton. “Brom’s big band was exceptional on the home stage in several ways,” said Spilka. “He had a very good nose for musicians, so a lot of musicians appeared in the ranks, exceptionally high-quality and talented, able to adapt operatively and inventively to a lot of genres.” 

Randy Becker. Credit: JazzFestBrno

Fans know the big band as a top jazz ensemble, which ranged from swing to outright avant-garde in its original and borrowed repertoire. Over the years, the orchestra has hosted a number of renowned singers and instrumentalists, including trumpet players Dizzy Gillespie and Maynard Ferguson, and singer Diana Ross. “That list now continues with Randy Brecker,” said Spilka. 

Brecker has been among the top U.S. trumpet players since the 1960s; he started in the band Blood, Sweat & Tears, played with Art Blakey’s legendary Jazz Messengers, and toured with Stevie Wonder and others, before founding the Brecker Brothers band with his brother, the saxophonist Michael, in 1975. The two siblings worked together until Michael’s death in 2007. As a soloist, Brecker recorded roughly three dozen albums, and many more as a guest, with artists including Paul Simon, Lou Reed, Joe Cocker, Aretha Franklin, Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr.

The autumn programme for JazzFestBrno will also see performances by famed jazz rock guitarist Al Di Meola, cult U.S. saxophonist Kamasi Washington, and composer and multi-instrumentalist Jiří Slavík with the nine-member ensemble Polka-boys. The Club Life series will also continue in Cabaret des Péchés, with singer and “jazz musician for the hip hop generation” José James and a double concert of two leading domestic jazz groups: Robert Balzar Trio and Matej Benko Quintet.


JazzFestBrno programme for autumn 2024

  • Tuesday 17 September, Sono: Al Di Meola
  • Sunday 29 September, Sono: Randy Brecker & Gustav Brom’s Radio Big Band
  • Sunday 13 October, CED – Goose on a String: Jiří Slavík & Polka-Boys: Polkatime
  • Sunday 20 October, Cabaret des Péchés (Club Life): José James
  • Tuesday 22 October, Cabaret des Péchés (Club Life): Robert Balzar Trio, Matej Benko Quintet
  • Tuesday 5 November, Sono: Kamasi Washington
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